microphonic problem?”

“Yes,” replied the Atomic representative. “This guitar has been repaired.”

“Excellent,” I replied. “I hear Barack Obama is speaking at the University of Maryland. Though I have lent my support to neither Barack nor Hillary—-nor John McCain, for that matter—-I am a sometime journalist, and I suspect that this Obama event may prove newsworthy. Though I will be late to the rally, it may be in my interest to attend. Because you are located near the University of Maryland, I can see Mr. Obama speak, then pick up my guitar.”

“Well,” replied the Atomic representative. “Your guitar will be here.”

“Capital!” I exclaimed. I donned a winter coat, exited my home, climbed into my black Toyota Matrix, and pointed the sleek vehicle in the direction of the University of Maryland. The Toyota cut through the crisp February air, a graphite-colored knife through butter. After thirty minutes of competent driving, I arrived at the labyrinthine parking lot of the University’s 18,000-seat Comcast Center. I parked in Lot FF and walked to the grand stairway that adorned the Comcast Center’s façade.

“Here for Obama?” inquired a University security guard. “Line starts three-quarters of a mile back there,” he replied, pointing to a obscure location over a distant hill.

“Is there a press entrance?” I inquired. “You may not realize that I am a member of the press,” I added.

“Press entrance closed already,” the security guard replied. “Where were you?”

“I suppose I was late,” I admitted. Though my whereabouts at any given moment are not really your business, I thought, but did not say.

“Well, you can enter with the general public,” the University security guard offered.

“I do love the public,” I agreed. I walked to where the guard had pointed—-down a hill, over a bridge, up a hill, around a dorm, over another bridge, and up another hill—-and joined a politicized caravan of bearded College Park students eager to hear Mr. Obama’s message of hope. The front door of the Comcast Center was in sight when an unidentified voice called out.

“They’re closing the door!” I heard. “Run!” The bearded students and I broke into a sprint, pushing forward at all costs to enter the Comcast Center. All sense was lost in the stampede. Backpacks filled with expensive textbooks were tossed aside. The overweight and handicapped fell behind. A half-finished Starbucks latte dribbled into the grass. Then, as suddenly as the mad rush had begun, it ended. I was swept through a glass door, whisked by a cadre of security guards, and thrust up an escalator towards the stadium’s cavernous space. I heard the cheers of the crowd and found a seat. Obama was about to speak.

After all this, I still have to pick up my guitar, I remembered. But has the microphonics problem has been addressed? What will the repair cost?